Have you read my first post in this series, 5 Tips I Learned at 5 Hostels? Here are the next 5 tips for hostels that I promised to share with everyone! These are some things that I just had to learn through experience and some that I wish I had known before checking in!
1. Aqua Lounge- Isla Carenero, Bocas Del Toro, Panamá
Give somewhere a chance before you get discouraged and leave. I went to Aqua Lounge from Mondo Taitu, and was looking forward to being here after my experience at Mondo Taitu, but when I got there I saw the water swings were down, work was being done, and I panicked. I had just spent two nights disappointed from Mondo Taitu and did not want to be disappointed again, especially because of how much I had been looking forward to being at Aqua Lounge. I decided to calm down, do what I had planned for the day, and come back for the big party they had that night, and make the final decision the next morning, and I am glad that I did because I had a great time that night, and the rest of my time spent in Bocas. (The swings were just being replaced that morning, they were back up by the time I got back)
2. Hostel Mamallena- Boquete, Panama
Always take advice from fellow travelers about a hostel they have been to. I had not planned on spending a night in Boquete, only hiking Volcan Baru overnight and getting on a bus the next morning to my next destination. (I was obviously oblivious to what it actually means to hike up a volcano). Someone I met at my first hostel recommended that I go to Hostel Mamallena and sign up with the hostel for the hike and get a bed the next morning because I would need to rest. Though I doubted I would need the rest, because, in the words of Cheryl Strayed, “I’m a big fat idiot.” I still took the advice on the hostel, and it was the only thing I did right in Boquete.
3. The Lost and Found Lodge- La Fortuna Cloud Forest, Panama
Knowing how to cook can be very useful during hostel stay. I refer to myself as “domestically challenged,” cooking is not something on the list of skills that I possess. However, I will make sure that I can cook a few basic things in hostel kitchens before my next trip. The Lost and Found Lodge was my favorite place in Panama, but it was a hike into the Forest to get there so you couldn’t exactly walk right up to a restaurant. They did give you the option to purchase a meal made for you every night, which I did and it was very good, but I was on my own for lunch. Making your own meals will save you a lot of money during long-term travel so you don’t have to go out every time you get hungry, and you won’t have to worry if you are in remote areas without access to restaurants.
4. Hostel Heike- Bocas Del Toro, Panamá
You can ask your hostel if they can store some of your luggage for you. I didn’t do this myself, but two of the people I met at Lost and Found came there from Bocas Del Toro and did. They knew they wouldn’t need their whole packs for 3 days at Lost and Found and would be returning to Hostel Heike who gladly stored their bags for them until they returned.
5. Hollywood Beach Hostel and Suites- Fort Lauderdale, FL
Check with your hostel about any additional fees before checking in. I made reservations at this hostel for $25 a night (not bad considering the location), but when I checked in I had to pay an (almost) $9 "resort" fee and $10 to park. That almost doubles the price, taking it from $25 to $44, and if you’re staying multiple days on a strict budget it can start to add up quick. It came out to costing me a total of an additional $76 than I had planned, when if I would have just asked it wouldn’t have been such a surprise when I checked in.
So there you have it, 5 more tips I learned at 5 more hostels I visited! Hopefully, this helps you prepare for your next hostel stay, or makes you feel a little bit more comfortable about the idea of staying in a hostel if it’s something you were reluctantly considering. Do you have any tips for staying in a hostel? Comment them below!